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Araceli Cantera


New Tech High School Senior Araceli Cantera 

It takes just a minute of conversation with New Tech High School Senior Araceli Cantera to see that this compassionate, articulate, bright young adult is going places! 

Araceli joined the Napa Valley Unified School District and Silverado Middle School in eighth grade. From there, she transitioned seamlessly to New Tech High School, a place she fondly shares is like, “A little community, a really positive place.” In that community, Araceli epitomized an active and engaged student, volunteer Color Guard Captain, and Class of 2023 Salutatorian, among many other feats. 

Over the last four years, she has immersed herself in challenging coursework and, because of her love for kids, participated in an internship with a speech pathologist and physical therapist through a First5Napa program called Flourish (now Mariposa). She shared, “My favorite memory from this experience was working with the three-year-olds who were relearning motor skills through play. It was inspirational to see how different children can use unique approaches to learn.” Her involvement did not stop there. 

In June 2022, Araceli interned in Congressman Mike Thompson’s Office and enjoyed it so much that she extended her internship through February 2023. She shared, “Seeing the work behind the scenes, the background of what happens, was really meaningful. I learned so much about this work. It inspired me to minor in public policy. I was also able to work with a lot of great people who mentored me and shared their experiences. I enjoyed it so much.”

She shares the same fondness for her teachers, sharing, “The support from our teachers was something I never experienced at other schools. The principal and teachers opened space for students to be self-advocates, were open to listening to feedback, tried their hardest to support and help all students, and helped support me through all the things I wanted to do.”

When asked what advice she wants to give her fellow students. She didn’t waver stating, 

  • “If you are ever hesitant about doing something, do it. The worst thing that can happen is it does not go the way you want. You still learned something.”

  •  “Get involved in the community.”

  • “Be gentle with yourself - give yourself grace and value your relationships.”

Araceli has positively impacted the New Tech school environment, NVUSD, and her greater community. Join us as we wish her the best as she heads off to The University of Southern California, Los Angeles where she will major in occupational therapy with a minor in public policy and psychology.

Collage of 2023 Graduate Araceli Cantera at Graduation
  • New Technology High School